Dairysafe received state government funding from PIRSA in 2019 to undertake a research project into training levels and opportunities, and to develop a business continuity model. Much has occurred since then.

We’ve completed a comprehensive industry stock-take of industry training, skills and culture with the majority of SA dairy manufacturers. This process has been fundamental in understanding the skill and training gaps in both large-scale and artisan businesses, and to identify gaps and barriers to flexible and affordable training.

The results of the stock-take have been analysed and the key findings will be formally reported to PIRSA and the Minister. Some highlights include:

  • 100% of businesses rate engagement by senior managers/owners in food safety as either important or critical;
  • In terms of accessing training, 81% of businesses use internal staff on-the-job; 67% use an external provider off-site; 57% have used online training; and 48% have used an external provider on-site;
  • 86% have a structured training program in their Food Safety Program;
  • 100% of businesses with staff require all employees to complete induction training;
  • 92% assess induction training;
  • Dairy businesses consider the following as essential training:
    • HACCP (86%)
    • Food Standards Code (69%)
    • Allergens (62%)
    • Good Manufacturing Practices (86%)
    • CCP’s (79%)
  • Businesses have encountered the following barriers to training in SA:
    • Availability (55%)
    • Location and distance (31%)
    • Cost (29%)
    • Time (24%)
    • Lack of dairy and process specific training (21%)
  • Businesses access information that supports training from – internet/Google (48%); Dairysafe (43%); and member organisations (29%).
  • 60% of businesses provide annual refresher training to employees;
  • 98% indicated employees are committed to their organisation’s training values;
  • Businesses identified industry-wide training issues include:
    • Lack of dairy focussed training (33%)
    • Lack of training options (21%)
    • Lack of funding to support upskilling (14%)
    • Lack of availability of pasteuriser operator training (10%)
    • Not knowing what’s available (10%)
    • Not knowing minimum training requirements (10%)
  • Opportunities for improvement suggested by businesses include:
    • Accessible training resources (21%)
    • More online training options (21%)
    • Dairy industry forums (17%)
    • Apprenticeship, Mentoring or Buddy program (12%)
    • Topic specific workshops, e.g. labelling, allergens and shelf-life validation (12%)

Business continuity model

We’ve also progressed development of an analytical tool for use by dairy manufacturers to identify exposure to business continuity breakdown. The analytical tool is in the form of a business continuity model that aims to:

  • Assist businesses to analyse their exposure to business continuity breakdown;
  • Analyse business risk exposure;
  • Assist businesses in strategically managing food safety resources and identify options to increase/reduce resources.

The model is based on 15 questions answered by the owner/manager of the business. The answers plug into a model which uses the relative risk of products manufactured and the level of business exposure, assessed from the answers provided by the business, to calculate the potential for continuity breakdown. It then highlights options to manage risks and resources.

The questions are set around eight essential business elements from a food safety and business perspective:

  • stakeholder engagement;
  • food safety culture;
  • workforce communication;
  • performance measurement;
  • financial management;
  • risk management;
  • training, skills and knowledge; and
  • HACCP ownership and utilisation.

The questions have been developed with the help of a statistical process improvement expert. The model is currently being tested with a number of dairy manufacturers.